Rapper Tim Parker, AKA Gift of Gab, dies after health battle

Rapper Tim Parker, AKA Gift of Gab, has passed away aged 50 after a lengthy battle with kidney failure.

The rapper, one half of hip-hop duo Blackalicious alongside co-star Chief XCel, real name Xavier Mosley, died "peacefully" on June 18.

His co-star penned a sweet tribute announcing the news on Facebook on Friday, which read: "It is with much sadness and a heavy heart I announce the passing of my friend and brother of 34 years, Timothy Jerome Parker aka The Gift of Gab. He returned peacefully to the essence on June 18, 2021."

The duo was best known for their hit track Alphabet Aerobics, as well as Gab's impressive gift for tongue-twisting, multisyllabic rhymes.

The statement continued: "I met Tim Parker aka The Gift Of Gab in September of 1987 at John F. Kennedy High in Sacramento. He was a junior and I was a sophomore. I had moved to Sac earlier that summer from Union City.

"Gab had moved there two years prior from Pacoima. We had a home economics class together, Mr. Hightower, third period. He sat in the row directly behind me.

"Tim being from So Cal and me being from the Bay, we would argue all class period about who was doper, Ice T or Too Short.

"A friend of mine, Armstead Jackson, played a mixtape for me he had from New York and on it was 'Top Billin' by Audio Two," Chief XCel continued.

"It blew my mind. Armstead let me borrow the tape. I played it for Tim that same day in class. It blew his mind and we knew we actually had the same love for Hip Hop."

Chief XCel went on to reveal that Gab's original rap name was Tiny T, continuing: "I knew he rhymed because of a mutual friend, Justin aka Homicide.

"Homicide approached me one day and said, 'We should form a group. You be the DJ and me and Tiny be the MC’s. Tiny’s Dope.' I said, 'Cool' and we set out to be Sac’s version of Run DMC.

"Plans were put to an immediate halt when Homicide dropped out of school. We never heard from him again.

"About six months passed and out of the blue, Tim who had now changed his rap name to Gabby T, calls me and says ,'Yo X, I need a DJ'.

"So I’m thinking he’s asking me to DJ for him for a talent show or school dance so I say, 'For when?'.

Tim then replies 'Forever' and I say 'Cool'. That day marked the beginning of our journey. 34 years of brotherhood, deep friendship, artistic inspiration, and musical exploration."

Speaking of Tim's health battle, Chief XCel added: "We often said that each project we recorded (3 LPs and 2 EPs) were snap shots of our lives. Gab always strove to do it with as much honesty and integrity as possible.

"In 2014 when his kidneys failed he began to work with even more fervour. He would do dialysis 4 days a week for eight hours a day and still tour, write, and record.

"He felt that after 3 decades of working together we were just hitting our stride. I wanted to capture as much of his greatness as possible while he was still here for the world to hear."

The emotional star added: "I know he’ll live forever through his art but I miss my brother. Until we meet again."

Gab had undergone a double kidney transplant last year, and set up a GoFundMe at the time to help raise money for his medical expenses.

He wrote at the time: "I am reaching out to my fans and people in general with this go fund me because once I get the transplant it’s going to be costly.

"I will have to pay to put myself up in a hotel close to the clinic for up to 6 weeks.

"I need to bring a caregiver out, rent a car, buy food, and not to mention I can’t work for six weeks and bills and rent at home don’t stop. Reaching out to all to help me get [through] this," he added.

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In exchange for their help, Gab offered fans who donated a free song from his exclusive EP The Fastest Story Ever Told.

X described his rap partner as a "compassionate man that cared deeply about people" – and that was clear in the tributes that poured in from fans.

"RIP gift of gab. Bad news, Such a great rapper! Talented and intelligent. One of my all time favourites… Happy to have seen him performing live. RIP," one penned.

Someone else added: "Beautifully written homage Xcel. Truly eloquent, sending strength and compassion for your loss. The world has just lost one of its finest MCs. Much love and respect."

A third emotional fan wrote: "Such a good brother. Xcel, my sincere condolences to all friends and family."

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